December 12 – Happy Birthday Ace Minnitti

1956-chevrolet-bel-air1Long before the Internet brought us e-commerce or QVC made its debut on television, today’s Birthday Celebrant made shopping from home a reality for the entire West End of Amsterdam, NY. His name was Anthony Minnitti but everyone knew him by his nickname “Ace.” He was born in Amsterdam on December 12, 1917, the son of a West Main Street tavern owner.

Ace’s retail space was the back seat and trunk of a 1956 two-tone Chevy Belair. The car’s original color was white and sky blue but along about 1969 or ‘70, the white panels were showing some rust. One afternoon Ace pulled into a corner spot of the West Main Street Sunoco Station where I used to pump gas, pulled out a roller pan, roller and can of house paint and proceeded to paint the white portions of that Belair a creamy tan color. I’ll never forget what he asked me after he was finished. “Do you think it will dry if I drive it to Fort Johnson and back or should I take it all the way to Tribes Hill?”

When that Belair pulled up at the curb in front of my grandmother’s old duplex on Leonard Street my two aunts would run down the stairs of the front porch just as Ace would turn the key and lift the lid of the car’s trunk to expose his portable showroom…

You can read the rest of my story about “Ace” in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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